It was a strange spring for us and a lot of other people around the world. So much rain this spring that we couldn’t get into the vegetable garden. But I did manage to get two of the three raised beds built and placed in the garden.
Planted tomatoes and green peppers in the two 4’ x 8’ x 10” raised beds. I also added a lot of mulch around each raised bed so we can walk in the garden with making a muddy mess of.
Next we had a stretch of 30+ Celsius temperatures that put me on the sidelines for a few more weeks. I was only able to work early in the mornings because by 8 or 9 am it was already hotter than I could stand. So glad we did manage to get some veggies growing before the heat knocked the crap out of me.
Bought And Planted A Hydrangea
We finally bout that hydrangea we wanted and I planted in the south part of the yard where people will be able to see it from the sidewalk and we will be able to see it from our kitchen window.
I have a couple of old tires I had planted flowers in last year but this year I used them to create the exact size of circle I wanted for the planting holes.
A week or two ago we were at Canadian Tire where I saw a small hydrangea I wanted in our yard. The tire helped me make a perfectly round hole and after I planted the hydrangea I added a thick layer of dark mulch to help keep moister in the ground as well as to keep weeds from growing.
Our Hugelkultur is Coming To Life
For a while this spring I wasn’t sure if I was going to see any flowers growing on the hugelkultur bed I created last year. Fortunately it has started producing beautiful poppies again as well as a few other flowers.
So it’s the last day of June 2014 today and my vegetable garden is looking pretty sad. We’ve had so much rain that it’s been under water or so muddy I couldn’t work in it at all.
We had a few days of dry weather and sun so I did get the first 8 feet of the north end tilled and then I added the first 4 x 8 foot raised bed and got two rows of tomatoes planted.
No soon had I planted the last tomato plant the skies opened up and flooded the rest of the garden but my new raised bed and the tomatoes looked just fine. That was the first week of June so things are really late. Hope we have a warm Autumn so we get to enjoy what I have just planted.
I added a pretty thick layer of mulch around the new raised bed so we could walk on the dark mulch instead of sinking in the mud. Worked great but I will need to add more mulch once I have what it there tramped down. Was great walking around the raised bed once that mulch was there.
A Week Later
It was an entire week before I was able to start working the second 8 foot section of the garden so I could build and place the second raised bed. I had to work in the rain to get it completed but I did. For this section I used plywood under my feet to keep from sinking in the muddy soil.
I got it done and added green peppers and yellow pear tomatoes before I was forced out of the yard by the pouring rain. I didn’t even get the chance to surround it with mulch like the first one. I’ll get to that once I can get back in the garden.
Planting Flowers In The Veggie Garden
I’m a bit sad that we are so late getting things going this year but I will get it finished before next spring and that makes me happy because we should not need to worry about flooding any longer.
The fact that we have raised beds now means we can cover the top of the beds with plastic in the early spring and heat the soil so we can plant earlier than we ever had. We can even turn the beds into little green houses in case we encounter frost. Getting exciting already.
Each spring I dig up our vegetable garden using a round mouth shovel garden fork. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to get it ready… if I don’t have to deal with flooding.
A couple of years ago a friend of Jenny’s came over husband and tiller in tow to till our garden. They tilled the garden in less than an hour so each year since I have thought about buying a little tiller and this year we did.
Just about a week ago Jenny and I went to Canadian Tire and bought a little Troy Built Tiller.
Troy Built Garden Tiller
I used the tiller to loosen the soil at the north end of the garden where it’s the lowest and then dug it out down to about 18 inches then filled the hole with broken twigs and yard debris to help build it up for less flooding as well as better drainage.
Next I built a 4×8 raised using 2×10 lumber I found being thrown away by some people moving out of an apartment building.
Once I dragged it into place I put three or four wheelbarrow loads of organic compost in the bottom and a couple of loads of top soil which I mixed together and then continued filling with top soil until close to the top.
Should not flood anymore and I can sit on the edge of the raised bed instead of kneeling next to it.
I also added a thick layer of dark mulch around the bed so we have an area we can walk on without turning things into mud.
I was almost done this part of the project when the rains started and they came down hard but the garden didn’t flood which makes me so happy. The plan is to make a second raised bed which will reach to about the middle of the garden. The rest will just be tilled as it’s already high enough it doesn’t flood.
Holy crap I’m having a hard time getting anything started in our vegetable garden but I’m not planting anything until I have the north end raised a few inches to stop the flooding every time it looks cloudy.
The top inch of garden soil was drying out nicely but too wet just below that to start working. In just minutes I would have a big muddy mess and then it started raining again. In just a couple of hours 22mm had come down and soaked but didn’t flood my garden. Just a day or two of sun and it will be ready to start digging.
Hey Squirrels, chipmunks and mice stop digging up my starter seeds and plants. I didn’t actually see who did the damage but either way it sucked to open my garage door yesterday morning only to see all the dirt dug out of the pots and leaves nibbled off the plants.
Lost all my sunflowers and even the extra seeds I had planned to start outdoors. Little buggers eh?
Splitting Hostas Today
The Hosta Jenny planted next to the garage a few years ago is big enough now that I suggested we split it into 4 or 5 sections and make a flower bed out of them. So now we have 5 smaller hostas along the side of the garage.
It’s only 5 degrees Celsius today so I started off feeling a little chilly but a few minutes with the shovel and I was all warmed up.
This hosta is now cut up into 5 sections and stretched across the north side of the garage. Looks pretty messy but once they start to get their leaves they will look a whole lot better.
The garden soil and compost we ordered is sitting in the driveway but it’s still too wet to start working in the vegetable garden so I started another little project.
I added a new flower bed between the vegetable garden and the property fence where I will start some wildflowers and sunflowers.
This will help to attract more birds, butterflies, ladybugs and pollinators like bees which seem to be in short supply these days.
NOTE: Because of the harsh and long winter we had there maybe far more bees that didn’t survive so I left all the dandelions in our yard while other flowers in our yard get started.
Instead of digging up the section of lawn I used to cardboard boxes to cover the lawn. Next I added a layer of garden soil, a layer of organic compost and another layer of garden soil.
About a half hour or so and I had the area covered.
After that I added a border around the area and levelled off the soil. Then I left it because it was going to rain.
We have a couple of days of rain going right now and low temperatures so I will wait to seed it until the rain stops and temperature goes back up a few degrees. Still early enough to get frost.
I selected the location for our vegetable garden based the fact it’s the furthest away from the sidewalk and less likely to be raided by kids of all ages. The thing is I never put any thought into how low that spot is.
Well after a few years of being frustrated with flooding each spring and replanting or replacing plants after flooding I decided it was time to raise the veggie garden a few inches to make the north end level with the south end of the garden. So I picked up the phone and called Audubon Organics on Mapleton road Moncton and ordered 2 cubic yards of garden soil, 1 cubic yard of organic compost as well as a cubic yard of mulch.
I am not going to just dump in in the garden. First I plan to dig up the north end deep enough to bury dead branch and yard waste from the winter, all organic of course, and then cover it with a thick layer of garden quality soil.
I like to compost everything we can but we only have a small compost bin so I don’t produce nearly as much compost as we need. Because of that we buy a lot of soil which adds up.
This year we have decided to contact Audubon Organics here in Moncton and have some garden soil, compost and mulch which will do us all summer long. The fact this will be in bulk we will get it much cheaper than buying by the bag.
We do have spring flowers growing now as well as leaves are finally appearing on trees It was looking pretty bare for too long so we’re quite pleased Spring has arrived. Now we can get on with the yard clean up. By then the veggie garden should be workable.
I started many of our garden seeds already, expecting the weather to be better, so now they are not getting enough sunlight and will start getting spindly looking if I don’t get them outside in the direct sunlight.
We are already into the first week of May and we haven’t been able to get any yard clean up done. Add to that the fact I have not been able to place a foot in our vegetable garden as it has been flooded since the snow melted.
I find that a bit depressing but the more green I see the less depressed I am. On a positive note the temperature has stayed above freezing, even at night, for a week now. At least here in Moncton.
Because of the problem we have with flooding I have decided to raised the north end of our vegetable garden to match the level of the south end which seldom floods at all. I just need to let it dry out before I can start.
This project may take me most of the summer. I can only do this a little at a time because of health issues. It took me more than a month to build my hugelkultur bed last spring and I only thought it would take me a week.
For that reason I may have a very small vegetable section this year. I am however planting a lot of flowers this year which I have been wanting to do for almost a decade.
I have already started many flower seeds in the house but in a few days I will be moving my mini greenhouse outdoors so they get more direct sunlight. Then as the seeds sprout and grow to the size I want I will start planting a few new areas of our yard.
It was a long white winter here in New Brunswick this year so now we have a very wet spring with plenty of flooding. Maybe a sign of future conditions which isn’t a good sign for the location I have our vegetable garden. This means I need to either move the garden or raise the garden enough to avoid minor flooding.
The front of the yard is higher than the back and the front of the house has a flower bed with one bed on either side of the front steps.
The crocus have just popped up over the last week. It’s been so nice to see the snow leave our yard even if it means some lawns will need mowing.
I was having major issues with the host I was using which cost me my page ranks for Home Gardening Tips so I tried to move elsewhere and lost everything I had done for the past 5 or 6 years. Not pleased but life does go on as will my blog.
It’s the first week of February so I am not doing any gardening at the moment which should allow me to get some content going before our home gardening season starts.